What's happening with the Polymnia building and other brick structures behind The Muses Apartments?
In an effort to revitalize a once-thriving New Orleans neighborhood, there are many changes underway in Central City. In addition to new businesses sprouting up on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, construction has begun on two buildings directly behind The Muses Apartments. The building at 1725 Baronne St. was once part of Kaufman's Department Store, which opened in the late 1800s on what was then Dryades Street. (The name was changed to Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in the 1980s in honor of the civil rights activist who founded the New Orleans chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality.)
When construction is completed later this year, this building will be the home of Tulane City Center, currently located at 2100 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., and will include some programs of the Tulane School of Architecture that focus on "fostering global urban research, the development of flexible and innovative urban strategies, and the provision of environmentally and culturally informed principles," according to its website.
Next door at 1731 Baronne St. is the former New Orleans Public Service Inc. Polymnia substation, which was built in 1923. This building is the future home of Ashe Cultural Arts Center, now at 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., a nonprofit organization that supports community development through art and culture. The new facility, which is scheduled to be completed in the fall, will have a gallery and a performance theater.
Behind those buildings, at 1831 Polymnia St., is a 130-year-old structure that was a school in the 1880s. Last year the Louisiana Landmarks Society placed it on the New Orleans' Nine, a list of the city's most endangered historically significant sites. No plans to renovate the building have been announced.